The Northern Illinois football team is coming off back-to-back losses, but its toughest test is yet to come.
NIU will travel to Lexington, Kentucky to take on the University of Kentucky at 6 p.m. on Saturday. The Huskies are a 26-point underdog at Caesars Sportsbook, the official odds partner of Bet Chicago Sports, against the Wildcats in the final matchup before league play begins.
But my favorite bet for this game is actually on the total, where I will be taking over 52.5 points (available at BetMGM at the time of this writing) for this week’s nonconference clash.
I’m not going to lie to you — this bet was based on Kentucky’s output rather than focusing on the NIU side of things. Bill Connelly’s SP+ currently projects the Wildcats to roll to a 42-13 win, pointing toward the home spread and the over.
The Wildcats are off to a 3-0 start to the season, winning every game by double figures. But they were not pleased with their offensive performance in last week’s 31-0 win over Youngstown State. They turned it over three times, including a pair of interceptions.
Saturday is a chance for Kentucky to get the offense back on track, as Northern Illinois has the 127th ranked defense via Pro Football Focus. The Huskies are giving up 34.3 points per game, which ranks 108th in the country.
UK quarterback Will Levis might not have deserved some of the draft hype he was getting in the offseason, but he’s still capable of producing. Levis is 61-of-91 for 882 yards to go along with six touchdowns and four interceptions through three weeks.
The Huskies have also been more of an over team this year, scoring at least 28 points in all three games. They won’t need to produce that much this weekend, but I’m counting on them to find the end zone a couple times.
The over came through in NIU’s 38-28 loss to Vanderbilt last weekend when I was on the under. But I’ve learned my lesson from that one, so give me the over in Saturday’s game at Kentucky.
Pick: Over 52.5 points